IOWA CTY, Iowa - A 15-month, pandemic-induced recruiting deadline ended last week. The activity level has been high with no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
College coaches and prep prospects are meeting face to face for the first time since March of last year. Showcase and team camps are allowing recruits to work out in-person in front of staff, quite often for the first time.
I wrote more in-depth about where Iowa Football stood heading into the long-awaited contact period. It since added its third '22 commitment, Wisconsin lineman Jack Dotzler, who visited campus on Thursday.
Despite the long layoff, the Hawkeyes remain true to their deliberate ways in recruiting. They're handing out new scholarship offers, but in many cases at a slower pace than the competition.
It works. There are aspects of the program I question, but identifying talent isn't one of them.
The biggest splash came at the Lindenwood College camp in Missouri on Friday. Iowa offered freshman-to-be legacy Iose Epenesa. I didn't have it in me to attempt an interview with a prospect not graduating high school for four years, but it's a cool story, one that will be written about a lot until a commitment is made.
I have no problem with an offer to someone who hasn't played a prep game. It's deserved in this case. Iose is a 6-3, 230-pound athlete showing advanced skills that also led Utah and Minnesota to offer. An untrained eye can see the potential for an elite talent.
The Hawkeyes also offered '23 defensive back Christian Gray and '24 receiver Jeremiah McClellan, both from St. Louis, off of their performances at the Lindenwood camp.
Iowa held its first of three Lineman U camps this month on Saturday. It offered Iowa Western defensive lineman Jordan van den Berg, a native of South Africa, '22 Huxley (IA) Ballard offensive lineman Kale Krogh and '24 Winthrop East Buchanan lineman Cody Fox, whose brother, Taylor Fox, is currently a Hawkeye.
Sunday marked the first of Iowa's three Elite Skills camps during June.
'22 Palatine (IL) receiver Jacob Bostick picked up an Iowa scholarship offer in March, which HN talked with him about recently. He visited campus last week.
HAWKEYE HOOPS UPDATE: Iowa Basketball coach Fran McCaffery met with media last week as his student-athletes were returning to campus for summer workouts. He discussed several newsy topics but nothing major.
Connor McCaffery, his oldest son, Joe Toussaint and Ahron Ulis underwent offseason surgery. McCaffery's procedure was the most in-depth, and he's still recovering. The other two guys should be back relatively soon, the coach said.
Bohannon announced in the spring that he would be returning for his Super Senior season, awarded by the NCAA for student-athletes affected by COVID-19. While early indications revealed he would be coming back to play off the ball more, McCaffery said this week that he will be running the school's all-time assist leader at point guard with some lineups.
That announcement shouldn't come as a surprise nor should it worry supporters of Toussaint, who will be given every opportunity to be the team's top lead guard. But he's not playing 40 minutes a game there, and Bohannon is a proven facilitator who rarely turns it over.
McCaffery recruits multi-positional, versatile athletes. After losing three starters from last year's team if Joe Wieskamp stays in the NBA Draft, the coach must keep evaluating rotations and combinations before the season. Wringing hands now for what he might do in November is a fool's errand.
Sophomore forward Keegan Murray will be prominent in rotation. After a solid first season, the Cedar Rapids (IA) Prairie High product already is drawing '22 NBA Draft buzz.
No doubt Murray possesses the starter kit to reach the game's highest level. He's long and athletic with excellent court awareness.
The next step for Murray will be showing he can handle being a main focus of the opponents' game plan. He also must keep expanding his game, which includes better ball handling, a more consistent outside shot with more range and increased strength.
NEW MAN ON CAMPUS: Eric Copeland announced on social media over the weekend that he would be an Iowa Football graduate assistant. He spent the last two years in that role at John Carroll University, where he earned a Master's degree in Nonprofit Administration. He worked with cornerbacks there.